One Little Word® for 2022: forward

photo credit: Razvan Mirel via Unsplash

I don’t really have a process on how to come up with my guiding word for the new year; it is usually less ‘active thinking’ but rather an opening of the mind to see what word floats in naturally at the end of each passing year.

Last year, my word was ‘TRUST’. It seemed like a lot to choose that word at the beginning of 2021 when the world was in such a fragile state and so much hope (at least here in the United States) was placed on the shoulders of our new president.

In retrospect, I think the word choice was a good one. An anchor, if you will. Even though 2021 was a huge disappointment in many ways, some of my trust was restored nonetheless and progress on many fronts was made (not so much on others, but hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs).

There was indeed this one word that has popped into my head over and over again in recent weeks and months in various situations and the choice felt inevitable.

My word for 2022 will be FORWARD.

Well, look. After everything we left behind in 2021, we don’t really have a choice, do we? It’s not like we were able to opt out of 2022. The new year is here and we have to move forward, so why not make it a mantra?

for·​ward | \ ˈfȯr-wərd \

  • toward the front 
  • to or toward what is ahead or in front
  • toward the future 
  • to or toward a more advanced state or condition
  • toward a successful conclusion

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I’ll choose to focus on a positive attitude and the things that I can control this year, so if ‘forward’ doesn’t scream 2022, I don’t know what does!

Here are a few mantras I’ll keep circling in my head:

THINK FORWARD. I am a planner by nature and like to stay ahead of things (if at all possible). I know that not everything can be planned in advance, or even anticipated, but I’d like to have contingency plans in place and go forward feeling prepared that I can handle whatever life throws my way.

ADVANCE FORWARD and away from negative thoughts, draining relationships, and things that do not serve me. I tend to overthink (anyone else?) and hold on to negative feelings much longer than necessary (and healthy, sometimes) and I need to work on letting things go.

MOVE FORWARD from missteps and disappointments and give yourself some grace. They are normal and nothing to be ashamed about, and for sure not worth beating yourself up over.

PROCEED FORWARD with a healthy mindset and healthy habits. This is something that I have focused on last year already, but I keep tweaking my fitness routine and my eating habits and constantly feel a forward push to keep exploring what’s good for my mental and physical health, especially in these trying times.

I still expect there to be a lot of windy roads ahead, bends in the road that we can’t see past, and possibly a few ‘one step forward, two steps back’-situations, but with the right mindset and some determination, I want to believe that things will get better and that we will keep moving in the right direction.

Let’s LIVE FORWARD, friends! After all, what else is there to do?

What’s your word for 2022?

Here are the words I picked in 2015, 20162017201820192020, and 2021.

  1. I always enjoy reading what others have chosen for their word for the year!
    Forward is a great word and I totally agree with your mantras! Advancing forward and away from negative thoughts and overthinking (I need to work on this myself).
    It is such a positive word.
    I chose brave for my word for 2022.

    1. Thank you – I think brave is a really good choice as well. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oooh San, I really like this. Forward we go! I am working very very very hard at not focusing or giving energy to things I cannot control, and just keep moving forward. I am also a planner and it’s been really hard to see all the things that have not gone to plan. But forward – I like it!

    1. Thanks Nicole. Let’s all move forward together :)

  3. Love it, love it, love it!
    I’ve always appreciated (maybe this seems pessimistic?) Robert Frost’s quote that reads something along the lines of “The only way through is through.”
    I’ve been thinking that a lot lately when life and COVID just feels hard and heavy. Just keep swimming (thank’s Dory), move forward, the only way through is through etc. And there will be some great things happening along the way!

    1. There’s no more truth in a quote that this one – the only way through is through! I have heard that before and think it’s pretty accurate. I also like to think that as long as we’re moving, however slow it might be, we’re making progress!

  4. Oh, what a great word for this year! I’m struggling with pandemic re-entry and I definitely need to have some forward momentum out of the six square blocks surrounding my house.
    Good luck to you in 2022! You got this!

    1. Oh boy, do I hear that… I need a push out of my comfort zone again as well!

  5. I like your word for 2022! Kudos to you for focusing on what you can control. It can be really easy to get down about the state of the world, but so much is out of our control, and focusing on that isn’t healthy, in general.

    I haven’t posted about it, but I think my word for 2022 is going to be connection. I am off social media because overall, I think it’s a net negative contributor to my mental health/happiness. So I want to replace social media with intentional and quality connection with others. Which is honestly more work than checking in on people on social media, but it’s worth it! So tonight I have a zoom w/ a friend who lives in CA, and on Friday I have a call w/ another friends. These are the kinds of things I want to put my effort and energy into but it’s going to require focus!

    1. Connection sounds like a great word choice, Lisa, and I applaud you for trying to make more direct connections with people and not rely on Social media for this. I don’t think I am ready for this – I have so many people that I want to keep up with LOL but I do understand the urge to pair down and focus more on the one-on one!

  6. I love your word so much and it’s perfect for the times ❤️ 2021 left me disappointed too: I mean, I placed a lot of stock on things being different and some things changed but most things stayed the same. And I realized that I need to shift my perspective. I can only control so much and also I’m tired of being angry at people. I want to come from a different place entirely and learn (as hard as it) acceptance and a way forward. It’s all I can do to keep calm and carry on, as they say.

    Also this is everything: ADVANCE FORWARD and away from negative thoughts, draining relationships, and things that do not serve me ❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Charlotte. The word kept popping up so I had to run with it. <3

  7. A great word for 2022! I have a tendency to get stuck in overthinking patterns and find it hard to move forward into the things I want to do, and I love this reminder that it’s ok to push forward.

    Here’s to a successful forward 2022!

    1. Thank you, Stephany. I thought it was so fitting. I tend to get stuck myself sometimes and I know that I needed the reminder to push forward.

  8. A well-chosen word, San!
    It reminds me of Coco’s post about her word.
    She was looking for the opposite of hibernation (what the pandemic feels like). She said she is “ready to make plans and execute them”.
    Very similar to your concept of “Forward”.
    It then occurred to me that “Aufbruchstimmung” would encapture that perfectly. We should anglicize that word!

    1. Thank you for sharing Coco’s post, Catrina. I definitely relates to my thoughts around this new year.

      Aufbruchstimmung is yet again a perfect German word that doesn’t have a good translation…

  9. Yes, I love this! It’s a very optimistic and proactive word. I got a little stuck at the end of December- it was hard for me to let the holidays (and my son’s time at home) come to an end. I got past it, but “forward” would have been a great mantra to have at that time. I’m going to remember it for the next time I feel myself getting stuck.

    1. Thanks Jenny. I tend to get stuck myself sometimes and it’s a good reminder that it’s okay to move forward, even if things are not wrapped up neatly.

  10. What. a wonderful choice for your word 2022. It holds so much potential and possibility. It is focused on you, your surroundings on things you can grow with. Love it. And I feel like it is a word for the right time. I love the mantras too that you keep in your head. Those a probably helpful when you loos sight of the word. I hope it serves you well. As you know I am all set on positivity tooth’s year and will CELEBRATE. my way through 2022.

    1. Thanks my friend. The word kept popping up and just seemed so fitting for the times that we’re in. I loved your choice, celebrate, as well – because it puts the focus on the silver linings in this difficult time!

  11. Somehow I missed this post, but I LOVE this word — in fact, it was my word of the year for 2021! My friend shared with me a quote that really resonated with me: “Forward, out of darkness, leave behind the night. Forward, out of error, forward into light.”

    I hope this word helps guide you and give you momentum all year long!

    1. Oh, thanks so much for sharing that quote, Suzanne. I love it. It’s beautiful and true! I’ll be noting this down in my planner right now!

  12. Oh, San, what a great word. Forward. Truly, it is time to move forward in life. What I love about this is that all of your mantras/intentions are internal. You’re not relying on things going on in the world to move yourself forward. Instead, it seems as though you could pursue all of those regardless of how things are shaping up ‘out there’.

    I considered Onward, to be honest, but decided that first I needed to find Courage. Perhaps next year, I shall be ready to move onward, or forward. I’ve already realized that my intentions – be kind, seek joy – are really more for the rest of my life, not just one little year.

    Forward! (And, for your amusement, our local [European] football team is Forward Madison. And its mascot is the flamingo. Here you go:

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